My mama, Vera, has advanced Alzheimer’s. The doctor recently confirmed my suspicion that she also has Parkinson’s. This means Momma deals with a great deal of confusion in her own mind. This confusion is manifesting in a particular way. Maybe this blog will be one you can relate to on your caregiving journey.
Momma lives in a very nice skilled nursing community. God’s blessings are upon us, always, but I am oh so aware of them when I visit her community. However, every time Momma sees me or my husband, she says, “Get me out of here. I can’t stand all the confusion and mess and no one knowing what’s going on. It is horrible. Just look around!”
If you were to hear this over the phone, you would assume Momma lives in an awful place with lots of people crying out or screaming. You would expect a dirty or ugly environment. You would expect to see staff acting like Chicken Little—confused and shouting “the sky is falling…..the sky is falling.” In reality, the exact opposite is true, and Momma’s version is as far from the truth as you can get.
Momma’s skilled nursing is bright, clean, and beautifully decorated. The staff is extremely kind and efficient. The residents are happy, well-dressed, and participating in six or seven activities each day. It is a quiet place to live. So why is Momma experiencing life differently than what reality is showing us to be true? I will answer with my theory on this topic.
Momma’s advancing Alzheimer’s is the answer to WHY when it comes to most every question regarding how life is for her. I believe Momma’s brain is so cluttered with mass confusion that it plays out in her life as I described earlier. She feels overwhelmed by not knowing. She feels confused by people moving around her. She feels frustrated by not being able to walk. She wants to process thought, but she can’t. She wants to put her words together, but they come out jumbled. She wants to do things for herself, but she can’t. She thinks people are mad at her. She feels sad and scared. She feels like a failure. She feels like she needs to fix things, but she doesn’t know what the problem is or how to fix it.
Imagine only having a few seconds a day where your world felt “right,” and imagine the remainder of your day being mass confusion in your brain.
Carol Howell is a Certified Dementia Specialist and Endorsed Life Coach with an emphasis on Creative Music Experiences. After her husband’s closed-head injury in 1996 and her mother’s diagnosis of Alzheimer’s in 2006, Carol began her study of the brain and the various forms of dementia that exist. Through her not-for profit company, Senior Life Journeys, she is actively involved in the lives of individuals who are caregiving for a loved-one with dementia as she helps them develop caregiving techniques. Carol’s latest book, Let’s Talk Dementia-A Caregiver’s Guide, is an Amazon #1 Best Seller, and it is an easy to read guide for caregivers of individuals with dementia. She also wrote the best seller If My Body Is A Temple, Why Am I Eating Doughnuts? It tells of the amazing miracle that caused her to lose 100 pounds. You can follow her blog—Something to Ponder—at www.seniorlifejourneys.com.